Simple Green Cleaning

Last night, after finishing a week of grading lab reports and a midterm, I got my housewife on.  I cleaned the kitchen, baked raspberry crumble bars, made yogurt in the slow cooker, and most importantly, cleaned the bathroom.  Since starting this project a little over a month ago, I have avoided doing any serious cleaning because I had no idea what to use.  My former go-to kitchen and bathroom products were definitely off the table: 409, Soft Scrub with bleach, and paper towels.

After reading a whole bunch of recipes for homemade cleaning products, and stumbling across this recipe from Live Renewed for homemade soft scrub, I decided to give the bathroom and kitchen sink a go.  

I kept the replacement cleaning products simple, and they worked great.  Here is what I did:

  • 409 replacement: a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.  I didn’t have a spray bottle, which would have made this easier, so I just poured a little vinegar on a damp rag.  Worked great on counters, sinks, bathtub, etc.  I love that I don’t have to worry about washing it off the counter like I did with 409.
  • Soft Scrub replacement: a 3/1 mixture of making soda and castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s citrus orange).  I mixed up the paste in a jar and used a rag to wipe down surfaces with it after cleaning with vinegar. It didn’t have the bleaching power of the old Soft Scrub but I wasn’t cleaning anything dirty enough to miss it.
  • Instead of paper towels, I used a kitchen rag.  I only had one, so I rinsed it out often.
  • I cleaned the toilet by dumping a few tablespoons of baking soda in, scrubbing with the brush, then adding a few T of vinegar and scrubbing more.

green cleaning

Success! I used only water, vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap.  Vinegar is a weak acid, and baking soda is a weak base.  Cleaning with them in succession will take care of pretty much anything, especially combined with castile soap.  Don’t mix them directly together though or they will neutralize each other! Castile soap is also a base, so like baking soda it can’t be combined directly with vinegar or it will become denatured, ie useless.  Many recipes for home cleaning products out there get this wrong! It’s basic chemistry guys.  That’s why I stuck to mixing baking soda and soap together, and cleaned before and after with vinegar and water.  I have avoided borax simply because I don’t have any and I don’t think I need it.

For future green cleaning, I will definitely find a spray bottle and maybe also add some essential oils to cover up the smell of vinegar. I also need a few more rags. But that’s it!

There are tons of tutorials and recipes out there for cleaning green, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.


5 thoughts on “Simple Green Cleaning

  1. Awesome recipes! I personally just use a mix of white vinegar, water (hot, if I happen to be making it “fresh”) and a few drops of tea tree oil since it’s a natural antibacterial. And I have some random rags I use, but have a few old tee shirts waiting in the wings to be cut up when those rags can no longer be used.

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